I heard the crinkle of foil before the gum slid into my hand. I smiled as I took the gum because I am now an adult and my aunt still treats me tenderly. Her gesture flooded my heart with memories of how often she has lavished care on me.
When I was a child, Aunt Jan would stay overnight with me and my four siblings. Caring for five kids for more than twenty-four hours can be a daunting task, but I don’t remember any anxiety. I remember her standing at the stove flipping pancakes and singing to us. I remember giggling as she told us, “They may be a little doughy in the middle but they’re good.”
I remember Aunt Jan visiting often while my mom battled cancer. For what turned out to be my parent’s last wedding anniversary, my aunt helped us kids prepare and surprise our parents with a steak dinner, and the she took us out for the evening so they could be alone.
I remember Aunt Jan sliding the combs of my wedding veil into my hair as I got dressed for my wedding.
And I remember Aunt Jan visiting after my first daughter was born. To my surprise, she washed every piece of laundry in the house and mopped all the floors before she left.
And that morning when I received gum during the worship service, I sat at my Aunt Jan’s table, and she served me a hot, delicious breakfast casserole and coffee. It had been a long time since someone had gotten up early to bake a casserole and then serve me as I sat at the table.
Aunt Jan has a gift that comes from within her. It can best be explained by a phrase I once heard in a sermon. “Some people have the spiritual gift of caring, and they are always willing to heap boundless generosity on you.”
I am thankful for Aunt Jan’s spiritual gift of caring. She has an amazing ability to generously give good things. I am honored to be a recipient of such care.
Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.